‘Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward them for what they have done’ (Proverbs 19:17).
Driving through Westlake in week one of South Africa’s Lockdown was an eerie experience. Everything was dead still. Except for a few who were breaking Lockdown, buying and selling liquor. The police came three times but each time the culprits disappeared, like kids playing peek-a-boo behind the sofa, and popped back out when the police left. Even through the seriousness of it all, I had to smile. One must keep a sense of humour.
It has been an incredibly busy week – draining on many levels. Managing Westlake United Church Trust, a registered NPO/PBO means adhering to our core mission pillars: serving the Westlake Community in the areas of Home-Based Care, Child Protection, Advice office (assisting the community in the areas of admin and community issues) and our pre-school, Emmanuel Educare (177 Westlake children).
We are assisting the Westlake vulnerable during this crisis, as we have always done in times of disaster. We are fundraising to assist with food and medical supplies. The ‘vulnerable’ refers to those enrolled in our programmes (group-therapy for Child Protection children and adult group-therapy for Senior Citizens, and Lifestyle Diseases, HIV, and TB). At our Centre, each therapy group gets valuable education (as well as health checks and nutritional advice) meals, and now, medication. We are concerned about our vulnerable clients that cannot get to us during the Lockdown, and so have mobilised our amazing Home-Based carers to distribute food parcels during their home visits. On home visits, they do health checks, educate on Covid 19 safety rules via leaflets, do bed washes if needed, and distribute food parcels, soap, sanitizer and baby formula to nursing mums on our Mother-Baby programme.
These wonderful angels put their lives at risk daily. The team consists of Ronel Poole, Sylvia Dimala, Thembeka Manyane, Fiona Jonas, Marcia Stuurman, Zaidie Cloete, Nozipho Mantshinga, Francis van Wyk, Charne Gordon and Nurse Lawrence Tapfumanyi, along with our cheerful driver Austin Mwale. I am so proud of this amazing team.
This is how your donation is used: food/sanitizer parcels cost R150 (for 5-7 days), R300 (for 10-12) days. Items in a parcel can be a combination of either: mielie meal, samp & beans, tea, sugar, pilchards, baked beans, soya mince, chakalaka, pasta, soap, oil, peanut butter, sanitizer, milk and toilet rolls. We hand out around 30 food/sanitizer parcels daily.
It is important that we donate to people in genuine need. To ensure this we go according to household income (according to the most up-to-date information we have). All workers were paid on the 25th March so those households should only need supplies on 25th April. Some have 6-8 tenants in their yards (each paying R500-R1000 p.p.) and so have a regular income. Others collected their SASSA child grant (R400 per child) or foster child grant (almost R700) on 1st April. We stick carefully and firmly to our guidelines – the bible says, “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” (2 Thes. 3:10). This means the give-ee must meet us halfway (more on this next week).
Other Westlake committees are giving food parcels of their own makeup to the poor outside of our list.
At first I was anxious, like so many others… However the Lord has put it on my heart that this is an opportunity for all believers to mobilise and show the world the love of Christ during this time of immense trial. We can show kindness by donating to the poor, a struggling neighbour or friend, or giving encouragement digitally via social media. Let us intercede that the Lord will enter and win the battle against this awful disease for us! Do not be anxious, beloved, for the Lord your God is with you. (Psalm 121 vs 7-8). While the world is panicking we can express the perfect peace of God.
The LORD will keep you from all harm– he will watch over your life;
The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.Psalm 121:7-8 NIV
Veloshni Baker is the Acting General Manager of the Westlake United Churches Trust. Visit http://www.wuct.org.za for more information.
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